Religious leaders have called on councillors to protect spending on social care on the eve of budget talks.
The Bishop of Chichester and the Bishop of Horsham have co-signed a letter calling on West Sussex County Council to strongly consider any reduction in social care budgets while building up millions of pounds worth of reserves.
The Rt Revd Dr Martin Warner and the Rt Revd Mark Sowerby point out that the authority is proposing to reduce spending by £55 million over the next two years on top of £80 million over the past three years while building up reserves by approximately £50 million.
They wrote: “We urge all members of the Council to consider carefully any proposal to reduce spending on social care further.
“We especially urge them to consider whether it is right to maintain or increase large reserves of public money at a time of financial stringency for many.
“The recent establishment of food banks even in some of our prosperous areas exemplifies the pressures under which people in our communities are labouring, and we are concerned about the effects of past cuts on already vulnerable individuals and families.
“Whilst fiscal prudence is important, those who have the responsibility of public funds should avoid unnecessary austerity when many of their constituents are experiencing material need.”
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